Transfiguration 2022
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hamilton, Ohio
Pastor Kevin Jud 
February 27, 2022
Deuteronomy 34:1-12, Hebrews 3:1-6, Luke 9:28-36

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            The season of Epiphany began on January 6.  This is the day we remember the magi coming from the East to seek the newborn king of the Jews.  Jesus’ identity is being revealed not only to the children of Israel, but also to the nations.  The big question that gets answered during Epiphany is, “Who is Jesus?”  But the answer doesn’t start with the magi, it starts with the angel visiting Mary and announcing to her, Luke 1:31–32 (ESV) 31 …behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,”  An angel visits Mary’s fiancé in a dream and tells him, Matthew 1:20–21 (ESV) 20 … “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 

            Angels appear on the night of Jesus’ birth to shepherds in the fields near Bethlehem and proclaim Luke 2:11 (ESV)  11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” The shepherds go to Bethlehem and find the Baby and tell everyone what was told them by the angels. 

            Simeon is waiting at the temple for the Lord’s Christ. Seeing baby Jesus he takes Him in his arms and exclaims, Luke 2:29–32 (ESV)  29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation 31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” The question, “Who is Jesus?” continues to be answered. 

            Then Jesus asks the disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answers, “The Christ of God.” Jesus explains to the disciples, what this mean.  What does this mean to be the Christ?” 

            At Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan 30 years later Luke 3:22 (ESV)  22 … the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”  God the Father answers the question, “Who is Jesus?”

            In his ministry, Jesus drives out demons, and heals many of their diseases and ailments.  Jesus brings Peter, Andrew, James and John a miraculous catch of fish. Jesus raises a widow’s son from the dead.  He teaches as one with authority.  Jesus feeds 5,000 with five loaves and two fish.  He continues to answer the question, “Who is Jesus?” 

            Then Jesus asks the disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answers, “The Christ of God.” Jesus explains to the disciples, what this mean.  What does this mean to be the Christ?” 

            Luke 9:21–22 (ESV) 21 And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, 22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” And then, Luke 9:23 (ESV)  23 …he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”  Jesus is the Christ of God, but what kind of Christ is this?  What is all the talk about suffering and rejection and dying and rising?

            Today is Transfiguration Sunday, the end of the season of Epiphany.  Today we see Jesus takes Peter, James and John up on the mountain and be transfigured. His face and clothing shine like lightening.  Moses and Elijah appear and are talking with Jesus. 

            The scene on the mountain is rich with imagery; signs, reminders and revelation looking back and pointing forward.  In salvation history, important things happen on mountains. Looking back, Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac on Mt. Moriah, but God provides a substitute ram.  Moses was up on Mt. Sinai enveloped by a cloud talking to God and receiving the Ten Commandments.  When he came down his face glowed with God’s glory.  On Mt. Carmel, Elijah defeated and slaughtered the prophets of Baal.  Looking forward, Jesus, our sacrificial substitute, the Lamb of God, is put to death on a cross on Mt. Calvary with a sign above His head announcing this is Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews.  On a mountain in Galilee Jesus gives the disciples the great commission.  Matthew 28:18–20 (ESV)  18 …“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Back in Jerusalem, atop the Mt. of Olives, Jesus ascends into heaven.  Big things happen on mountains in the Bible. 

            Here on the Mt. of Transfiguration Jesus is getting His disciples ready for what comes next.  Jesus is revealing His true divine self as His glory shines forth.  He truly is God in flesh.  Jesus is talking with Moses and Elijah about His departure, his exodus.  Jesus’ exodus will be accomplished in Jerusalem. 

In the exodus from Egypt, Moses leads the people of Israel out of slavery.  He does this after the final plague of the death of the first born.  Moses leads the people through the waters of the Red Sea into the wilderness and eventually to the Promised Land.

            Jesus calls for all to follow Him.  He calls on His disciples and the crowds and all people and He says them, and He says to you, “follow me,” as he leads the way out of slavery to sin.  He does this after the death of the first born son of Mary, the only Son of God, on the cross at Mt. Calvary.  Jesus leads the way from His cross, to His tomb, to His resurrection, through the waters of your baptism into the wilderness.  He leads you through the wilderness of bearing your cross in this life and following Jesus.  Jesus leads you on the straight and narrow path to the Promised Land.  Jesus feeds you the living bread from heaven and gives you living water to drink in the forgiveness and eternal life of Holy Communion. 

            The Epiphany question is, “Who is Jesus?” This is answered; Jesus is the Christ of God.  What does this mean?  Jesus tells the disciples.  It means Jesus will die on the cross and rise from the dead.  So what should you do?  Peter, James and John offer to build booths for Jesus, Moses and Elijah.  But that is not what they are supposed to do.  That is not what we are supposed to do.  We get the answer to this question from God the Father himself.  Jesus is the Christ, what should I do?  Luke 9:35 (ESV) 35 And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” 

            Listen to Jesus.  In a world awash with voices calling you to follow them away from Jesus — leading you to question the truth — causing you to pursue a life of sin, God the Father’s voice rings out, “Listen to Jesus.”  When Jesus teaches that salvation comes through His cross and the resurrection, listen to Him.  When Jesus teaches that life under the reign of God is different than normal life in the world, listen to Him.  When Jesus tells you that you are to live following the Ten Commandments, loving God and loving your neighbor, listen to Him.

            Take time each day to listen to Jesus.  Read the Bible each day.  Listen to Jesus.  Download an audio Bible app and listen to scripture each day in the car or on the bus or when out for a walk.  Listen to Jesus.  Be faithful in worship to hear the Word of God.  Listen to Jesus.  Listen to Jesus when He teaches difficult things; when He tells you to love your enemy and pray for those who abuse you.  Listen to Jesus when He promises that you belong to Him and all your sins are forgiven. Listen to Jesus when He says that He died on the cross for your sins.  Listen to Jesus when He says He rose from the dead and that you will also rise from the dead.

            In baptism you have been transformed by Jesus.  You were lost, now you are found.  You were blind, now you see.  You were a slave to sin, you have been set free.  You were a condemned sinner, you have been redeemed. Jesus died for you and rose from the dead for you.  Jesus is the Christ.  Listen to Jesus.  Amen. 

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